Fighting Injustice in Polepally SEZ

…more than courage it takes WILL to stand up against injustice !

Will SEZ candidates trip bigwigs in Mahbubnagar LS seat?

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Courtesy: India Today

By A. Srinivasa Rao Hyderabad, April 5, 2009

They lost their land when the government decided to develop the Polepalli pharma special economic zone (SEZ). Now, 15 evacuees are contesting polls from Andhra Pradesh’s Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seat.

They are demanding that the land acquired by the government for the SEZ be returned to the people.

The SEZ will come up at Jadcherla in Mahbubnagar district, about 80 km from Hyderabad.

The 15 candidates — B. Lakshmamma, Mala Jangilamma, Sattemma, Rangamma, K. Kurmaiah, K. Narsimha, Y. Lingaiah, Chinna Venkaiah, G. Narasimha, M. Pandu, D. Sayanna, M. A. Jabbar, Ravinder Goud, Sinaiah Goud and V. Venkatesh — filed their nomination papers on Monday. Another candidate, G. T. Krishna, filed his papers for the Mahbubnagar assembly seat.

The contest is interestingly poised with Telangana Rashtra Samithi ( TRS) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao himself deciding to contest the Mahbubnagar LS seat.

Madhu Kagula, a senior member of the Polepalli anti- SEZ forum, said: “ We know we cannot win the elections. But we can tilt the balance of candidates of major political parties, so that our voice can be heard at the national level.”

In the bypoll held for the Jadcherla assembly seat in June last year, 13 evacuees of the Polepalli SEZ entered the fray and polled nearly 13,500 votes, resulting in the defeat of sitting TRS MLA K. Laxma Reddy. Congress candidate Mallu Ravi won the seat, though only by a meagre margin of 2,000 votes. “ We campaigned against Reddy because he could not protect the Telangana lands despite being a TRS MLA,” said Venkatesh, one of the contestants for the seat. “ We are confident that we will split at least two lakh votes in the constituency. That makes a lot of difference for the main contestants,” he added.

Polepalli SEZ has been a burning issue in Mahbubnagar for the last five years. Nearly 340 families from Polepalli, Gundlagadda Tanda and Mudireddy villages near Jadcherla lost 969 acres of agriculture land when the- then Telugu Desam Party government acquired it in 2002.

The government had paid compensation at the rate of Rs 18,000 per acre. After the Congress came to power in 2004, the government sold the same land to 29 industrial firms at the rate of Rs 7 lakh to Rs 17 lakh per acre. Two firms, Aurobindo Pharma and Hetero Drugs, have started their units at the SEZ. The farmers demanded that government should either restore their land to them or pay compensation at the rate at which it was sold to the industrial firms. “ government acted as a real estate broker by acquiring land at cheaper rate and selling it to firms at a higher rate,” Kagula said. He claimed about 49 farmers from Polepalli and neighbouring villages died because of the financial strain after the agitation started. “ Most them were promised jobs in pharmaceutical companies, they were only hired as labourers. It is unfortunate that farmers to become labourers in their own fields,” he said

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Written by dilkibaatein

April 6, 2009 at 11:02 am

Posted in Articles, English

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